The Message

James 1

1I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello!

Faith Under Pressure

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

Act on What You Hear

19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Chinese Contemporary Bible (Simplified)

雅各书 1

1我是做上帝和主耶稣基督奴仆的雅各,问候散居各地的十二支派的人。

信心和忍耐

我的弟兄姊妹,当你们遭遇各种磨炼的时候,都要认为是喜乐的事。 要知道你们的信心经过考验会产生坚忍。 你们要坚忍到底,使你们纯全、完备、毫无缺欠。

如果你们谁缺少智慧,就当求慷慨施恩、不责备人的上帝,上帝必赐给他智慧。 6-8 但他要凭信心毫不疑惑地祈求,因为疑惑的人三心二意,行事为人没有定见,就像海上随风翻腾的波涛,这种人从主那里什么也得不到。

卑微的弟兄高升,应当快乐。 10 富有的弟兄降卑,也要快乐,因为他会像花草一样衰残。 11 骄阳升起,草就干枯,花也凋谢,美丽就消失了。富有的人在忙忙碌碌中也会如此衰残。

12 在试炼中能够忍耐到底的人有福了,因为他若经得起考验,就会得到主应许赐给爱祂之人的生命冠冕。 13 当人受到诱惑时,不可说:“是上帝在诱惑我。”因为上帝不受邪恶的诱惑,也不诱惑人。 14 其实每个受到诱惑的人都是受自己的私欲怂恿和诱惑。 15 私欲怀了胎,便生出罪,罪一旦长成,便带来死亡。

16 我亲爱的弟兄姊妹,不要上当受骗。 17 一切良善的施予和完美的恩赐都是从天上,从众光之父那里来的。祂不像转动的影子变幻无常。 18 祂按照自己的旨意,借着真道重生了我们,使我们在祂所造的万物之中好像初熟的果实。

听道与行道

19 我亲爱的弟兄姊妹,请记住:每个人都要快快地听,慢慢地说,慢慢地动怒。 20 因为人的愤怒不能成就上帝的公义。 21 所以你们要除去所有的污秽和一切的恶习,谦卑地领受那已经栽种在你们心里、能救你们灵魂的真道。

22 你们要行道,不要只是听道,自己欺骗自己。 23 因为人听道而不行道,就像照镜子一样, 24 看过后就走了,随即忘记了自己的容貌。 25 但详细查考那使人得自由的全备律法并且持之以恒的人,不是听了就忘,而是身体力行,这样的人必在他所行的事上蒙福。

26 如果有人自以为虔诚,却不勒住自己的舌头,就等于是自己欺骗自己,他的所谓虔诚也毫无价值。 27 在父上帝看来,纯洁无暇的虔诚是指照顾患难中的孤儿寡妇,并且不让自己被世俗玷污。